A Few Sales Tips

8 X 6 inch oil painting on linen panel.
$140 (plus FREE shipping in the U.S.)

In the last two months my son has caught two colds, one of those colds he passed along to me and this week he is out of school because of Spring Break. Needless to say, I haven’t painted at all (except for that terrible little street scene that I wiped off and would like to forget about). The painting above is one I’ve posted before and is titled “After The Storm.”

Several of you requested that I share the sales tips I learned at the outdoor Mission show.

1. Say hello to everyone that stops to look at your work (it sounds obvious but a lot of artists weren’t sitting anywhere near their displays and they didn't sell anything).

2. Get the viewer talking. Ask where they are from, are they here to see the show or did they come to see the Mission, do they paint. The idea is to be friendly and keep them there long enough to get a second look at your work. Often they will notice a painting they didn’t see the first time they looked.

3. If they live anywhere near a gallery that you have your work hanging in be sure to tell them about the gallery. Potential collectors like to know that you are a gallery-represented artist.

4. Don’t ask if they would like to sign up to be on your mailing list because they will always say no. Instead, if they show an interest in your work, tell them you would love it if they would sign your book (make sure your book has clearly defined areas for name, address and email). It took me a while to figure this one out.

5. Have a stack of postcards with your work on them for people to pick up. Most people who showed an interest in my work picked up the postcards instead of my business cards. Be sure your contact information is on the back of the postcards too or at least put your web site or blog or Etsy shop on the postcards.

6. If a portion of the proceeds from the show are going to be donated to a worthy cause, let everyone know. This information is great to use when you’ve run out of things to say and the person viewing your work seems to be on the fence about a particular painting.

7. If a potential buyer comments on a particular painting and you’ve been given a display area in the shade, take the painting off the panel and show it to them in the sunlight. This helps the viewer get a closer look at the details and color in the painting.

8. Look at short outdoor shows as an inexpensive marketing opportunity. Compared to an ad in Art Collector magazine or other art magazine these shows are very affordable. Additionally, they reach your target market – people who like art and people who buy art. At the Mission, I was amazed that nine out of ten people I asked said they came to specifically see the art show.

9. Be yourself. I’m not a high-pressure sales person so my goal for the show was to have a good time, meet some new people, learn the ropes and get my contact information into some new hands.

I hope this was helpful to you. If you’ve participated in a show like this and have sales tips, I’d love to read about what lessons you’ve learned!

To purchase this painting and see more of my work log onto www.KimVanDerHoek.com


Hey Kim, Thanks for the tips. I don't do shows, but that was all good information that can be used in other venues. It is also important to note that down the road you may receive some sales that were generated by this show!
Manon Doyle said…
Love the painting!!
It's amazing to think that some artists don't stay by their booths. Why go? lol! Thanks for the great tips!
pencilportraits said…
Brilliant advice, I read this with interest. I'm so cowardly, I hate sales people myself so go in quite the opposite direction when I do a show (and that is a very rare thing) I tend to let people browse and walk away as I feel I'm pushing them. Sounds as though it works for you so perhaps I should be a little braver!!!
After The Storm is a perfect painting to post after the cold storm that went through your house! Glad you are back.
Karen said…
Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Kim. They're really helpful to read.
One question I was thinking of is do you own that set-up on which you hung your paintings, and if not, how did you construct a 'booth shot' to submit for jurying?
Hope you're feeling much better!
L.Holm said…
Glad you're feeling better. Excellent post. Thanks so much for sharing these tips.
L.Holm said…
....and stunning sky!
Edward Burton said…
BEAUTIFUL painting, Kim. Thank you for sharing your great tips!
Stormy and brooding yet colorful and cheerful- how did you accomplish that? Love it!!
Sheila said…
I'm sorry to hear your young'un is feeling under the weather.

I'm so glad that you reposted this amazing painting. I want to do awesome work like this. Taking an ordinary scene and making extraordinary!

I'm so grateful and appreciative you took the time to share and list the tips you garnered from the other artists.

I've said before, I'll say it again; artists are the most generous and giving people I've ever had the honor of associating with. HUGS!
Really very interesting... and potentially useful... for any event where one's art is represented. THANK YOU!!

I love that painting... even if it isn't a new one.
elsiee said…
very helpful and gracious of you to share and you're right about the postcards - I love artist postcards!!
Thank you for your helpful advice. I haven't done a show before, but I'm planning to in August, so I need all the help I can get.

Hope everyone is feeling better...and BTW, beautiful painting!
Great info Kim. I look to you as the scout, so I appreciate all your thoughts on this.
Nice to see this powerful painting once again.
r garriott said…
Really great tips, Kim, and I agree with all of them.
Another one I might add is, don't sit down! As hard as it to stand all day, sitting gives the wrong impression and puts you below the buyer's eye level, making it easier for them to walk away.
whimsicalpam said…
Great tips Kim. It's all in the people skills:)
I love this painting and I hope that you're getting over your cold:)
LSaeta said…
Thanks Kim. I really appreciate that you posted your tips! And I love your painting. What an amazing perspective!
Hi again Kim...
Just wanted you to know how much I appreciated the tips you shared. I wrote them down with some modifications to fit the venue and was all prepared to try to emulated you at my opening this weekend at the gallery but just got lost and had too much fun.
Oh well -- at least the preparation allieved some of my pre-opening jitters. (LOL)
love this piece. It's romantic w/o being mushy/corny
Rick said…
Well, aren't you the informative one. And apparently a born salesperson. I really like this painting (as I usually do). The sky looks alive. One day I will paint as well as you - maybe.
Hi Kim,

Wow, those tips are great! Thanks for sharing.
Good comments Kim! I am not surprised to see that you are a natural at this. I hope to attend one of your shows someday! we drove through Orange County last week seeing all of our old haunts and checking out our former residence. Thanks for arranging the beautiful weather for my visit to CA! : )
Hi Kim,
Great advice. I usually get very shy at my outdoor shows. Last year I forced myself just to enjoy the people and yes I did sell. Lots of fun.
I love your display. Excellent work Kim.
Tracey Mardon said…
Hi Kim, sorry to hear you've been under the weather but great reason for it. Thanks for taking the time to note these excellent tips.

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